Thursday, April 27, 2006


On the occasion of recent unanimous decision of the Supreme Court on the famous or infamous Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR), many text jokes as expected came to fore. Among the less unkind of them says: “Careless President Rebuffed”.

Although a joke, it says much not only to the national leadership but also to all elected executive officials—from the Barangay to the Municipal and to the Provincial levels. Among the lessons the joke implicitly but emphatically forward are the following:

First: when one has come to have too much self-care, he or she becomes care-less of everybody else. Time and again candidates for election say ad nauseam during election times that their only desire and mission is to serve. But when already elected into office, many of them often do exactly the opposite: they demand and expect people to serve them instead. From being public servants, they become public masters.

Second: when one has become addicted to power and influence, there is the practically irresistible temptation to hold on to it by any conceivable means. Never mind the imperatives of ethics and integrity, the text and context of the law, the demands of the public welfare or the common good. All these are secondary. The priority is the tenure of power and the design for more power even. Thus this route: democracy becoming authoritarianism—and this transiting to dictatorship.

Third: as it is well said, no one is indispensable, no human power is everlasting, even kings and queens go sometime, somehow. As usual, time levels all in due time. But what is truly sad is when certain individuals come to believe that they are the best and no one can take their place ever. Hence they come to subscribe to the false and dangerous conclusion that everybody and everything lie at their complete use and disposal for them to live and reign forever as if they could.

The plight of CPS is an omen. In fact, it is ominous. It says that sound reason eventually conquers devious options. It affirms that the government is for the people and not the other way around. It confirms that it is still the truth that gives freedom.

27 April 2006